Dr Tony Jewell, chief medical officer of Wales, urges people to take the leap and quit smoking on Wednesday
Currently, your New Year’s resolution is likely to have long forgotten. Your gym bag collects dust at the bottom of the cabinet. But if one of those promises made to you was to start smoking, do not refuse to give up.
Wednesday is a no smoking, and, as a chief physician, I must stress how important it is to use every opportunity to improve their chances of living long and healthy life.
We know that most smokers would really like to stop, but it’s hard. Thus, in this Olympic year, No Smoking Day encourages smokers to take the leap and give it a go, think about your physical health and tend to a smoke-free future.
Quitting smoking can almost immediately improve your health. Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, blood pressure and pulse return to normal life.
After 24 hours carbon monoxide is out of your body and lungs start to clear him. Three days later, you’ll have more energy, and breathing becomes easier.
A year after the rejection, the risk of heart attack is reduced by half.
The Welsh Government is committed to supporting people who want to quit smoking, and perhaps more importantly, we are trying to stop young people from the habit in the first place.
We have already taken several measures to prevent children from starting to smoke, such as Assist peer support are programmed in the schools.
It is encouraging that smoking rates among teenagers have been gradually reduced. In 2010 only 3% between 13 and 14-year-old boy and 6%, 13 and 14-year-old girls reported smoking weekly and there was a significant reduction in smoking prevalence among boys and girls aged 15 to 16 in 1998. Perhaps, it becomes less cool for young people to smoke.
On a broader scale, we are taking steps to implement the provisions in Wales to ban display of tobacco products at points of sale, which will come into force in large stores in December 2012. The ban on the sale of tobacco products through vending machines were introduced, as we recognized it as the main source of cigarettes for underage smokers.
The Welsh Government is also committed to participate in UK wide consultation on how plain packaging of tobacco products will have the potential to cause significant health benefits.
We will work with the Ministry of Health to ensure compliance with the commitments the Welsh government to address the problem of value, attractiveness and access to tobacco products, particularly for young people.
There is strong public support for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children. Last month we launched a new start for Wales encourage parents and careers to think the damage they do for their young passengers and to act responsibly.
It will run for three years and, if evidence shows that there was no significant reduction in children’s exposure to second-hand smoke, Health Minister said that it would consider the legislation.
We aim to reduce the number of people who smoke to 16% by 2020, with the ultimate vision of a smoke-free society in Wales, in which the harm of tobacco is completely eliminated.
It is an ambitious goal, but we have seen, Australia and California to achieve a similar reduction in smoking prevalence.
This year we will commission an independent review of all activities on smoking in Wales. This should identify improvements that need to be made to existing service termination.
Easy access to effective, appropriate resources will be vital if 16% of smoking is to be achieved. Failure may be difficult, especially if you smoked for a long time.
But one in four adults in Wales is an ex-smoker – so it can be done.